Partners Health Summit Focused on
Teens and Toxic Times

North Carolina’s teens live in toxic times. From childhood trauma to illicit drug use, today’s teens and adolescents are dealing with complex issues.

“With social media and technology, every choice an adolescent makes can absolutely blow up, and that type of pressure leads to toxic times,” said Paul Caldwell, Chief Community Operations Officer for Partners Behavioral Health Management. “The second leading cause of death for our adolescents is suicide from these pressures. These are different, and toxic times, and that’s what today is all about.”

On October 13, 2017, Partners hosted its Partners Health Summit: Teens and Toxic Times educational conference for professionals who work with teenagers. Thanks to a packed house of over 500 attendees, expert presenters, and exhibitors and sponsors, the community once again showed its dedication to making our neighborhoods and our citizens healthy and happy. The summit featured a variety of topics affecting our youth in today’s toxic environments, including:

  • Addiction, binge drinking, and substance use disorders
  • Buffering toxic stress
  • Building resiliency through responsive relationships
  • Childhood trauma
  • Cyber-bullying and sexting
  • Depression and anxiety treatment options
  • Self-Injurious behaviors and cutting
  • Suicide
  • Supporting LGBTQ teens
  • Toxic stress and early brain development

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The event featured keynote speakers Jasmine Mickle, project manager for Benchmarks’ Partnering for Excellence program, who presented “Understanding the Impact of Traumatic Stress Adolescence,” and Dr. Betty Rintoul, Executive Director of Encouraging Connections, who presented “Toxic Stress and the Brain: Risk & Resilience.” Both speakers shared prevention practices found in the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) research study. Risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential and early death have all been linked to ACEs.

“I was pleased to see so many people committed to making teens and our communities safe, happy, and healthy,” said Ashlyn Hartsoe, Health Education Coordinator for Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services. “Partners’ Summit addressed the causes, symptoms, and resources for all the key issues our teens face today.”

This free conference was jointly sponsored by Partners Behavioral Health Management, Charlotte Area Health Education Center (AHEC), and the North Carolina Collaborative for Children, Youth and Families.

For more materials from this summit and previous summits, and for regular updates concerning our next summit on April 6, please visit